13 December 2018, Thursday, 10:27
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Pavel Levinau Continues Fight For Free Access To Charter-97

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Pavel Levinau

The Economic Court of Minsk refused to consider the complaint against the actions of the Ministry of Information.

The Economic Court of Minsk refused to consider the application of the human rights activist Pavel Levinau regarding the invalidation of the non-normative legal act of the Ministry of Information of Belarus on restricting access to the popular independent site Charter97.org, the site baj.by writes.

Pavel Levinau appealed to the Economic Court of Minsk in April this year. He reasoned his refusal to invalidate the non-normative legal act of the Ministry of Information of Belarus on restricting access to the Charter-97 website by the fact that it is not under the jurisdiction of this court.

Lawyer Aleh Aheyeu emphasizes that this case is a good illustration of what points should be spelled out in the legislation on the media.

On April 19, the so-called "House of Representatives" adopted in the first reading a scandalous bill providing for the introduction of major changes in media legislation. But there is no procedure for appealing the blocking of websites among the proposed changes, as they say, the courts will deal with this anyway. As you can see, they will not.

"Pavel Levinau has used all the mechanisms to appeal against the decision of the Ministry of Information on the blocking of the Charter 97 website. However, both branches of the judiciary – the general and the economic courts – refuse to consider the complaint against the decision of the Ministry of Information on the blocking of the site. Therefore, it is important that the appeal mechanism are included in the draft law that is currently being considered," Aleh Aheyeu says.

Vitsebsk human rights activist and BAJ member Pavel Levinau believes that by blocking the Charter97.org site, the state violates his right to receive information. That is why the member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists filed a complaint against the decision of the Ministry of Information to the court. On February 8, the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk denied Levinau the initiation of the case in connection with the alleged non-jurisdiction of the case to the court.

Then on March 29, the Minsk City Court considered the complaint against this decision. Vitsebsk human rights defender once again explained his arguments to the highest court. The Belarusian Association of Journalists, a representative of which expressed the public opinion, also joined the consideration of the case. The position of the organization on this case is unambiguous: the state body has limited the citizen's right to receive information from the Charter-97 website, so a citizen must have the right to appeal this decision.

However, neither Pavel Levinau’s arguments, nor the position of the Belarusian Association of Journalists were heard – the court dismissed the complaint.

We remind that on January 24, Lukashenka's regime blocked the independent information resource Charter97.org. The blocking was confirmed by the First Deputy Minister of Information Ihar Lutski. The Ministry of Information is headed by Aliaksandr Karliukevich.